Merck is asking feedlot operators to be involved with the conversation on Zilmax.
During the NCBA Cattle Marketing and International Trade Committee meeting at the Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville this week, Ron Bryant, U.S. Ruminants division with Merck, recapped the five-step plan Merck developed with the cattle industry. Bryant explained that the advisory panel is in place and will meet in person once a month, and have several webinars each month.
They’ve developed a certification program to make sure anyone involved with Zilmax administration is BQA approved. Anyone who works on the yard has to pass the test annually, Bryant adds. Until this is done, the yard cannot receive the identification number to purchase Zilmax products until all employees are tested.
The current protocol information from research studies are being populated and data is being validated by Kansas State University, he says. K-State will finalize the written standards in the next few months.
Once those standards are complete, Bryant says the researchers are ready to implement those standards to a larger scale and evaluate Zilmax in the yard. Merck is committed to research for the long-term, he says, especially going through weather challenges such as the hot summer months.
It’s too early to make a timeline for when this research will be complete, Bryant says. But feeders are certainly in support of research moving forward, with a number of feeders offering to be part of the final research phase. Finding a packer might be the challenge. "The packer is probably the limiting factor to how fast we can go," he adds.
Bryant also addressed the feedlot operators in the room, saying if they wanted to be included to visit with him personally.
Questions from producers circled around trade barriers because of Zilmax’s use, and how the industry will be working to alleviate that pressure.
"If it’s not this, they will find something," he said regarding Europe’s position, adding that EU’s actions are also influencing other Asian countries.